Bernie Sanders-Backed Candidate for Massachusetts State Representative Says He Is A Former Illegal Immigrant

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Democratic state representative candidate Juan Jaramillo says he came to the United States as an illegal immigrant.

Jaramillo, who served as budget director for state Senator Joseph Boncore (D-Winthrop) and is the political coordinator for 32BJ SEIU (Service Employees International Union), has mentioned this fact in his campaign — but has not gone into much detail about it.

His most visible statement came via Twitter on Tuesday, February 23 while taking a shot at another candidate in the race. He aimed that criticism at former Winthrop Town Council President Jeff Turco, who has received criticism from the Left in the race for being the more conservative Democrat out of the four running in the primary.

In a tweet that got about 200 likes, Jaramillo wrote, “While Jeff Turco might have me deported, I’m here because communities in Revere invested in me. #mapoli #MassVoteForum.”

Earlier in the campaign he made another reference to his former immigration status. A Twitter user named Gerry McDonough sent Jaramillo words of encouragement back on January 26, finishing the tweet with, “You can win this.”

Grateful for the support, Jaramillo responded by tweeting back at the user, “Gerry, I appreciate your support and certainly she has set the foundation for an improbable run like mine. Previously undocumented ICU cleaner and here we are and your support is a bet in favor of the dream we get told about through our lives. Thank you!”

The “previously undocumented ICU cleaner” Jaramillo refers to in the tweet appears to be he.

On January 13, the Revere Journal published a press release from Jaramillo formally announcing his run. Here is the third paragraph:

Juan Jaramillo, an immigrant, is the son of hard-working parents who came to America escaping violence. His mother nearly lost her life after receiving death threats from drug cartels. Juan grew up in a working-class family, with both of his parents working 80 hour weeks as janitors to provide for the family. Juan joined them, cleaning ICU beds at Mass General to pay his way through college.


Another press release featured in the same publication states that he was born in Colombia.

During a candidate forum on Thursday, February 25, Jaramillo said Spanish is his first language and talked about he learned English though bilingual education in school after he came to the United States.

It’s unclear how Jaramillo became a legal resident of the United States. He did not respond to NewBostonPost’s request for comment on Monday.

As for the Sanders endorsement, here is what the self-described Democratic socialist had to say about Jaramillo.

I’m endorsing Juan Jaramillo for state representative because, when he gets to the state house, he will put the working people of the 19th district before the needs of special interests and the wealthy. He’s seen up close as a union leader that the working class is right now living in great desperation, and we need to address the pain and suffering they face. He’s building a grassroots movement to win, and I’m proud to support him.


Four candidates are vying for the nomination in the Democratic primary in the Nineteenth Suffolk District is this Tuesday, March 2. They are — in addition to Jaramillo and Turco — Winthrop resident Alicia DelVento, a former state legislative aide who has been endorsed by the pro-abortion EMILY’s List; and Valentino Capobianco, a Winthrop School Committee member and former legislative aide who lost high-profile Democratic endorsements after allegations of past sexual misconduct (which he denies). 

The district includes all of the town of Winthrop and eastern and central portions of the city of Revere. Since it is a deeply Democratic-leaning district, the winner of the March 2 Democratic primary will most likely win the general election, which is Tuesday, March 30.